MESI Wrap-up: Deliberative Democratic Evaluation

The session “Deliberative Democratic Evaluation” was led by Sandra Mathison.

Sandra began by explaining what deliberative democratic evaluation is: “it draws particular attention to the inclusion of stakeholders and the importance of deliberation. The purpose is to insure the interests and needs of those who are often disenfranchised are included and that the evaluation process is public, transparent, and contributes to building democratic communities.”

This type of evaluation is characterized by three principles:

  1. Inclusion
  2. Dialogue
  3. Deliberation

Sandra’s session focused on stakeholder inclusion and deliberation. Stakeholders are those that are involved in program operations, those served by or affected by the program, and the users of the evaluation. Stakeholders can have a variety of roles in this sort of evaluation, they can: communicate results, provide data, develop recommendations, identify the evaluation questions, etc. Once an evaluation is complete, and stakeholders have been involved throughout, it is important that they have the opportunity of deliberation. One of the ways to do this is via a deliberation forum that is moderated. It is important to note though, that deliberation can occur at any time throughout the process (identifying information needs, next step recommendations, etc).

Some of the suggested strategies for including and deliberating with stakeholders are:

  • Forums and open meetings
  • Focus Groups
  • Image based
  • Juries or panels
  • Electronic consultation
  • Electronic voting
  • Personal interviews

 See other posts from the 2009 MN Evaluation Studies Institute.

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